In an article at the AV Club
, Noel Murray entirely fails
to grasp the movie's subtext:
Game Change appears to go out of its way to make McCain look like a decent (if opportunistic) guy, and make McCain’s campaign strategist Steve Schmidt look like a noble idealist...
But while Game Change makes the story of the ’08 election entertaining, it’s telling that at no point in the film do the “good” Republicans—the ones openly exasperated by Palin, in other words—express strong political convictions. This doesn’t appear to be an intentional commentary by the filmmakers, either. In real life, Schmidt and many of the other advisors to the McCain campaign are rock-ribbed Republicans, but in Game Change, none of them express any vision for the country or for its government—not even “tighten our belts” platitudes. It’s as though no one involved with making the movie could imagine what any of these people actually believe, or why. So in the process of “humanizing” them, they end up cutting off a huge part of what defines them.
That’s a major flaw.
Noel, Noel, Noel... that's the movie's whole point
! Instead of picking the best available potential-subsitute president VP nominee, the "noble idealist" Schmidt embraced Palin while knowing almost nothing about her based almost entirely on her gender, looks and charisma. What "defines" these Republican operatives (and even, to a large extent, McCain himself) isn't their beliefs at all, but rather only their desire to win. If anything, the scene in which they nervously acknowledge, through the cover of jokes, Cheney's creepiness, shows how tenuous their ties to actual right-wing ideology really are.